WARRNAMBOOL speedster Glenn Wooster looms as a dark horse when Australian drag racing titles get under way next week.
Wooster will compete in the pro stock motorcycling class at the annual titles at Western Sydney International Dragway in the hopes of capping off his season with national glory.
The 40-year-old enters the titles, which will be held from November 2 to 4, after placing fifth in his class during the Australian National Drag Racing Association (ANDRA) series this year.
The result came despite the crew continually testing a new concept billet aluminium engine, which at its best is expected to be at the forefront of drag racing technology.
Wooster said he was rapt with fifth considering the bike was rarely at its fastest throughout the season.
His best time during the ANDRA series was 7.42 seconds for 400 metres and his maximum speed was 290km/h.
“We had three semi-final finishes and had enough points to come fifth,” he said.
“If we had a few more issues sorted with the motor earlier, we would’ve had a lot better finish.
“When you start developing a new engine, you have to learn a lot of new things. (But) the bike is finished in my eyes. I didn’t think we’d ever have it and we’ve got a full-blown pro stock motorcycle which should be on the edge of competing with the top guys.”
Wooster said being involved in developing the concept engine was one of the most exciting things he had experienced during his almost 20 years in the sport.
The engine, designed by Adelaide developer Trevor Birrell, is made out of solid aluminium billets and has a capacity of 1655cc.
Wooster is the only racer in the world with a bike powered by the engine. “Last year, every time we went to a meeting we went faster and faster and we were still building Trevor’s engine,” he said.
Wooster became interested in drag racing in 1994 when he crewed for veteran Warrnambool racer Des Woolstencroft.
He started racing road bikes at country raceways.
The chance to compete at group one level in the pro stock motorcycle class arrived in 2010.
Wooster was seventh in his debut season racing with limited resources, but sponsorship from Hog’s Breath Cafe helped him rise to fourth in 2011. He was fifth this year working with Birrell and heads to nationals a strong chance to make the final.
“We’re pretty lucky to have what we’ve got. I’m hoping we can take it further,” he said.
“We hit 181mph — nearly 300km/h — at Winternats and it’s obviously got more potential.
“But we don’t say too much until we know how fast it can go. We want to keep it together and make it right.”